GAMMON, JAMES" The career here with sketched is that of a gentleman whose experience in life has been one interesting in the extreme. He has embraced every opportunity for valuable information, keeping his eyes open to what was going on around him in the world, and has been quite an extensive traveler, migrating over a large proportion of the Great West. His first recollections are of an humble home in Greensburg, Decatur Co., Ind., where he was born, July. 10, 1827, and where he lived several years. His educational advantages during his boyhood were extremely limited, but nature had endowed him with good natural abilities, and in conversing with him to-day, it would never be guessed how little he had attended school.
The father of our subject was Joseph Gammon, a native of Portland, ME.; and his paternal grandfather, who emigrated from Ireland during the Colonial days, served as a soldier in the Revolutionary War. At a later day he was drafted into the army during the War of 1812, and his son Joseph, aged sixteen years, went as a substitute for his father, serving under Capt. Harch, and receiving at the close an honorable discharge. The first wife of Joseph Gammon died about that time, and he was then married to Hannah Gould, who was born near the city of Bath, Me., on the Kennebec River; her father being of English, and her mother of Scotch ancestry. Joseph Gammon was the father of eleven children. Only four of whom are now living; two being residents of this county, one a resident of Effingham, Ill., and one in Schuyler County, this State.
The father of our subject, upon coming to the West, settled first at St. Charles, Mo., and in 1844 came to this Country, locating at a point now known as Grant Mansion with very little capital. He cut wood and hauled it to Galena for $1 per cord, and finally gathered together eight cows and sold milk to the people of Galena. In 1845 the boat "Lynn" came to Galena to be loaded with pig lead, and the elder Gammon with his sons assisted in the loading of this at twenty-five cents per hour, and by this and other labor they in time secured enough money with which to buy the farm; that which is now occupied by our subject.
Upon the new farm there had been very little attempt at improvement, and a small log-cabin was the only building. Upon reaching his majority our subject secured employment on the river boats plying between Galena and St. Paul; one of which was the Senator. In the spring of the year 1849 his brother-in-law crossed the plains to California, from where he returned in 1852, bringing home $5,000 in nuggets. The spring following he returned, taking with him our subject; they making the trip by water, crossing the Isthmus of Darien on foot, and thence shipped on the Pacific for San Francisco on the vessel "New Orleans", which landed them thirty-one days later at San Francisco. Mr. Gammon remained in California three years; returning with enough gold-dust to pay him for his trouble. He intended to return to the Pacific Slope, but on account of the parents growing old and needing his filial offices he concluded not to leave them.
Our subject was married in Galena to Miss Mary J. Bavard who was born in York County, Pa., in 1836. She received a fair education and came with her parents to Illinois when young. The children born of this union are recorded as follows: Joseph, a miner, is unmarried, and makes his home near Hazel Green; May is the wife of Hugh Young, a farmer of Rice Township, this county; Sarah (Mrs. George Smith) is a resident of Galena; Henry, Charles, Jane, Hannah E., and James Garfield are at home with their parents. Mr. Gammon votes the straight Republican ticket, and is considered a fair specimen of the representative citizen.
From the Portrait and Biographical Album of Jo Daviess County, Illinois (1889)
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